MPs condemn Spanish 'act of war' over Gibraltar

 

Spain was accused of an “act of war” today after its naval ships repeatedly entered the territorial waters of Gibraltar.

Bob Stewart, Tory MP for Beckenham, said the British Government needed to "respond robustly to this aggravation" after Commons Leader Andrew Lansley said two Spanish naval vessels entered the waters of Gibraltar on Monday.

He said they were given radio warnings before leaving but Mr Stewart, a former colonel, said the incursion was illegal and the Government needed to "do something about it".

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond and Foreign Secretary William Hague should update the Commons with a statement, he said.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Stewart told MPs: "May I gently remind the House that an illegal incursion into British Gibraltarian sovereign waters is actually, technically an act of war?

"What is happening at the moment is wrong and we should do something about it.

"Can I ask for an urgent statement by the Secretary of State for Defence and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to actually respond robustly to this aggravation?"

His comments came after his Tory colleague Andrew Rosindell, MP for Romford, said Spain needed to be stopped immediately.

In his question to Mr Lansley, he said: "I am sure the entire House will be shocked, angered and dismayed at the continual incursions by the Spanish government into the waters around the British sovereign territory of Gibraltar.

"This is an act of aggression and will you ask the Secretary of State for Defence and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to make a statement about what Her Majesty's Government will do to ensure these illegal incursions into British sovereign waters are stopped forthwith?"

The Commons Leader said the Government had protested to Spain through diplomatic channels.

He told Mr Rosindell: "I can tell you there were two incursions by Spanish naval vessels into British Gibraltar territorial waters on December 10.

"Radio warnings were issued and the vessels departed from those waters.

"We have protested to Spain via diplomatic channels.

"The Royal Navy challenges Guardia Civil and other Spanish state vessels whenever they make unlawful incursions into British Gibraltar territorial waters and we will back those up by making formal diplomatic protests to the Spanish government.

"They will make clear that such incursions are an unacceptable violation of British sovereignty."

In a written parliamentary question earlier this week, Mr Rosindell discovered that the number of incursions had spiked this year.

Responding to the question, Defence Minister Andrew Robathan said there were 67 instances in 2010 and another 23 last year. But from the beginning of January to the end of November this year there had been 197 occasions when Spanish ships had sailed into the waters of Gibraltar.

Last month a Freedom of Information request from the Press Association revealed that the illegal incursions had prompted a flurry of complaints from the Foreign Office to the Spanish government in Madrid.

There had been 42 formal written complaints to the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2008, half of which were submitted in the last 12 months. The issue has also been raised directly with ministers and officials.

PA

News
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
people
News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
food + drinkTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
News
Australian rapper Iggy Azalea was left red faced but, thankfully, unhurt after taking a few too many steps backwards, sending her tumbling off the stage.
peopleIggy Azalea was left red faced but apparently unhurt after taking a few too many steps backwards
News
newsComedian Lee Hurst started trend with first tweet using the hashtag
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
arts + entsWe have created an infogaphic that looks back over the previous incarnations of the Doctor
Sport
Romelu Lukaku scores during Everton's 3-0 win over Arsenal last season
LIVEFollow all the action as Everton take on Arsenal in the final Premier League game of the day
Life and Style
A nearly completed RoboThespian robot inside the Engineered Arts workshop is tested in Penryn, England. The Cornish company, operating from an industrial unit near Falmouth, is the world's only maker of commercially available life sized humanoid robots
techSuper-intelligent robots could decide destroying the human race is the kindest thing to do
News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Software Developer (Java /C# Programmer)- London

£30000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global investment management fi...

Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CCNP, Cisco, London)

£65000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CC...

Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, Cisco, CISSP)

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, C...

Senior Network Engineer-(Design, Implementation, CCIE)

£60000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(Design, ...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition